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By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation                         Chef Paul Leiggi and Catering Director Chris Linn The last time I went wild mushroom foraging I was a child. My mom and I wandered the forests of the Catskill Mountains in New York. My basket was in one hand, my mother’s hand in the other. Our eyes set even more intently on the ground than we New Yorkers do on city streets. If I remember that day correctly, we found more poisonous than edible mushrooms. Regardless, foraging foods of all kinds quickly became a favorite activity. (To learn about my love of seaweed and seaweed harvesting, click here.) This November, while on the last stop of my fall West Coast Tour and visiting Willamette University in Salem, OR, I went back to the woods. The fog rolled into […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.  As the East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit, I travel to college campuses to discuss food sustainability with students, and with our staff and chefs. I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Chef Justin McArthur, a recent addition to the Bon Appétit family at Case Western Reserve University. He’s been working with Bon Appétit for 4 months, but in the food industry for 14 years. He shared some of his thoughts on the industry, his career, and his passion for what he does.  When did you first become interested in pursuing food as a career? It’s the standard story; I started off as a dishwasher. My best friend got a job, so I decided to apply. So we were both dishwashers. Then the cooks all quit, […]

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  By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation The Whitman Model Farm Project not only conserves natural resources and improves Whitman College’s environmental efficiency, but also happens to produce delicious food. I know because I just had an outstanding salad at Bon Appétit Management Company’s Prentiss Dining Hall at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA for lunch. Now, post-meal, like a salad lover in search of her pot of gold, I’m off to find out where my microgreens[1] came from. It turns out that in the rooftop greenhouse of Whitman College’s Hall of Science, salad grows. Sweet pea tendril vines wind their way up from growing trays. Four students are planting and watering seeds. I am sweltering under the greenhouse’s captured sun, but still determined to learn more about my lunch.

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Farmer Bob Knight (on right) with Bon Appétit Management Company Biola University Chefs By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation “Farms are getting huge. Real estate is expensive in California. Farming in the global food economy requires [farmers] to have thousands of acres. Farmers that used to have 10 or 20 acres are now being pressured to buy 4,000 acres.” We are at the Bon Appétit Management Company Student Ambassador Program at Biola University, a kick-off event for thirty students to get to know some of the people behind food: Bon Appétit chefs, staff, and farmers. Executive Chef Peter Alfaro just spoke about the path that led him to work in the kitchen and his passion for making the food system more sustainable through purchases as a chef. Biology professor and head of the Biola Organic […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.  As a Fellow for Bon Appétit, I have the pleasure of traveling to local farms from which Bon Appétit purchases, and meeting the very people who provide us with the food we eat. In September, I traveled to St. Libory, IL to visit Brad Schmitz, owner of Wenneman Meat Co., an old fashioned butcher shop and meat market that provides meat from Illinois farmers to Bon Appétit cafés at Washington University in St. Louis. Wenneman Meat Co. is unique to its area. Let’s face it—Illinois is corn country, not meat country. And sure enough, as I drove down IL-15 E—(nearly blinded by the sun, it was so bright!)—I passed field after field… after field… of corn, and soy. So what is this shop, sourcing local meat, doing in […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.     As a Fellow for Bon Appétit, I have the pleasure of traveling to local farms from which Bon Appétit purchases, and meeting the very people who provide us with the food we eat. Last month, I traveled to Dover, PA to visit one of the incredible farms that provides food at Goucher College—Sunnyside Farm. Sunnyside Farm is run by husband and wife Homer Walden and Dru Peters, two kindred spirits with opposite personalities. Homer is the creative farmer, brilliant inventor, and engineer. Dru is the practical businesswoman who makes sure that their hard work pays off in the end. Neither could make the farm run on their own—but together they have built up a beautiful farm and successful business, and you only have to talk to […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.    This past Friday I drove to visit Katherine and Sam Ecker of Legacy Manor Farm in Boonsboro, MD, which is about an hour north of D.C. After having been warned in an email not to dress up because “we really are free range which means plenty of poop”, I donned my rubber rain boots (the ones with the little blue whales on them), a pair of jeans, and made the trek out to the farm. And Legacy Manor Farm definitely did not disappoint me in the free range department—Katherine wasn’t kidding! In fact, on the driveway leading up to the farm, I had to stop my car—twice…once for a pair of turkeys that didn’t seem to understand  that I couldn’t move until they moved, and then once again […]

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“And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”  –Joel 2:24 Once upon a time, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon farmer families began settling on the land. In 1840, the Emersons made it across the Oregon Trail. In 1897 pregnant Grandmother Matson climbed up and over 2000 feet in elevation to her Washington homestead. With roots in Switzerland, Romania, Ukraine, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest, the extended Gross-Hofers-Walter family has been in the business of farming for 460 years. Shepherd’s Grain is the story of 33 farm families, 65,000 acres, and their transformation of the land to sustainable agriculture. Right: Shepherd’s Grain Grower, Kurt Blume from Genesee, ID It’s the end of a hot July. I stand alongside Bon Appétit Management Company chefs and managers at the edge of a Hard Red Winter Wheat field. We are surrounded by […]

Silky Sea Palms (seaweed) and California Kombu (kelp) This summer, Director of Specialty Culinary Programs Jim Dodge and longtime Bon Appétit friend and author Raghavan Iyer toured the country to help host Bon Appétit Management Company’s Vegan Chef Trainings. I joined the Northern California Training, held at eBay’s headquarters in San Jose. It was a fun and flavorful affair! It was especially exciting to see the variety of ingredients with which Bon Appétit chefs cook. Many, such as seaweed, house-made seitan, and nut butters, are less mainstream but nonetheless nutritious and delicious. In this post, I include two of my favorite recipes from the Training. Please enjoy and let us know what you think!

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In February I visited George Jones Farm in Ohio, which works closely with Bon Appétit Management Company at Oberlin College. The farm, constantly looking for new innovations, is doing a lot of cool stuff—including using brew waste (from beer) for compost, and using compost for hot showers! In this video, one of the George Jones farmers describes their exciting compost projects. ~Posted by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.